Tag Archives: garlic

Getting prepared for anything…

The weather is in the process of turning from deep winter into early spring.  In the UK that means we have heavy frosts at night and lovely clear days.  All that means I am out in the garden trying to steal a march on those jobs that (hopefully) I am not going to have time for come the summer.  Like weeding the borders thoroughly.  And pruning the perennial shrubs.  I also pruned the apple tree yesterday.  Thankfully I had a bough lopper that I could use, but my neck is a little sore from all that looking upwards!

1st aid

As I was mentally compiling the list of things that have to be done in the garden, I was also thinking of what I want to get sorted inside.  One of the major things I want to put together is a herbal first aid kit – something that I can turn to when the baby (I am not losing hope of a match yet!) or my husband or I come down with something.  Luckily, my trusty book “Herbs for Vibrant Health” by Rosemary Gladstar, has a list of things to include in such a first aid kit.  First aid is actually something very close to my family’s heart, especially as my sister is a freelance First Aid Trainer.  Check out her website at http://beavertraining-technical.webs.com for what she can offer (yes, yes, shameless plug… but she is my sister!!)

The essentials in your first aid kit can be divided into gels and salves, Tinctures, Essential and other Oils and then powders, capsules and other essences.

salve

First the gels and salves.  Ms Gladstar suggests having two separate salves – one which is all purpose and one which is specifically anti-fungal.  However, I think that it makes sense to have one which covers all the bases, and as they both treat the same things (cuts, wounds, burns and sunburns) a little research should yield a recipe which covers all of these areas.  Ms Gladstar also suggests having aloe vera gel in the kit for use on burns and cuts and wounds.  I like using aloe vera gel, but you have to remember that it can make skin photosensitive, so be careful on the areas you use it, just in case you begin to react to light in an adverse way.

tincture

Next some the tinctures.  A Tincture is a concentrated liquid extract of herbs, usually using alcohol as the main solvent, though they can be made with glycerin or apple cider vinegar as well.  The tinctures you can make and include in your kit are Echinacea – great for colds, flus, infections and boosting a weak immune system; a Liquorice tincture which will sort out sore throats, bronchial inflammation and even the herpes simplex virus (cold sores, mostly); a tincture of St John’s Wort which can help burns, pain, nerve damage, depression and anxiety; and a tincture of Valerian which can help pain, insomnia, stress and nervous tension and achy muscles.

essential oils

Now we move onto the essential essential oils to have in your arsenal.  I don’t think it will be any surprise that Lavender is in the list.  It deals with all sorts of things from headaches, minor burns and sunburns, insect bites and congestion.  It also helps to relax you.  Eucalyptus essential oil is in there too to help with congestion, achy muscles, repelling insects, cuts and abrasion, warts and cold sores.  There is also a recommendation for Peppermint essential oil which will help with digestive problems, burns, act as a mouthwash or as a general stimulant.  There is also tea tree essential oil to be considered.  This can be added to steams to help with congestion, but it is also good for achy muscles, repelling insects, cuts and abrasions, warts, cold sores and toothache.

You can also make some flavoured and scented oils to include in the kit.  Garlic infused oil is great for ear infections and parasites as well as colds.  St John’s Wort infused oils can help with burns, swellings, pain, bruises, sunburn and achy muscles.

green clay powder

Finally, we have the odd bits and pieces which can help.  The Bach Rescue Remedy has got to be in there.  It is brilliant for trauma and shock and can be used on animals, children and adults.  You can also include some green clay powder to make poultices to extract splinters as well as acting as a wound disinfectant and as a treatment for poison oak or poison ivy rashes.  Lets not forget about those winter essentials – the cold care capsules.  If you have succumbed to a cold, there is nothing better to give it a kick in the pants than one of those.

I am looking forward to making, storing and using all of these ideas.  If you use these already, or have some other suggestions, then please, let me know!

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I am back… with healthy jelly shots… no, really.

I know, I know, it has been months.  I am sorry for abandoning this blog, and the many other parts of my life which have been sacrificed on the altar of getting the new house up and running.  Well, the latter hasn’t happened either really, as I suspect that is a Labour of Hercules, but here are the highlights of what has been going on in the life of Viridian Herbalist…

really long lists

-Painting in the new house like chairs, front doors and stuff trying to make the house our own.  We actually own the place now, so that is a step forward.

– Keeping on top of laundry and cleaning in a bigger house juggling typically difficult English weather

– Moving my Mum from the wilds of Wiltshire to a flat complex next door but three to the new house, and organising getting her place sorted out as well as ours

– Going to Adoption Panel and being approved as Adoptive parents, and now getting on to the matching process, with yet another new social worker.

– Getting inspiration for a story which is really going well.  I have written over 14,000 words of it so far, and I keep on going.  Although I have always loved creative writing, I don’t think I have ever managed to sustain a story and characters for so long.

– Going on holiday to Canada to stay with my best friend and her family and having a fabulous time

– Coming back to dear old Blighty and getting ourselves over jet lag and back into the swing of life, the universe and everything.

vegetables

I have, however, now decided that it is time to get back to posting and doing Herbalism studies, before we get matched with our potential children, at which point, all bets are off again until we get into some kind of routine.  Let’s not borrow trouble though.  It is good to be back posting!

 

So, I did some searching on Pinterest for a really good thing to post about for my return post.  I found a really interesting pin from http://commonsensehome.com/ about making home made immune boosting jelly shots.  Who doesn’t like jelly shots?!  Usually the ones I have had are rather alcoholic and not good to consume in large or small quantities (though they are fun!).  But this is a really simple recipe, and a great idea to boot.  Especially as with the change of season we are moving into a very active period for colds and flu.  Anything that might help increase my immune system and stop the germs getting to me and slowing me down has got to be a good idea.

 

Obviously you need to think about which herbs help to build up your immune system.  There are lots of suggestions on the website but I am considering making two varieties.  One will be the tasty, fruity and spicy sort, using grapefruit juice, honey, cinnamon and ginger, maybe with a bit of mint added in for its antiviral properties.  That can be the prophylactic if you will, the one to stop the infections if at all possible.  The second sort I will make will be the “shock troops”, the one to be brought out to fight if my body succumbs.  They will have echinacea (from tea most likely), garlic, ginger, maybe sage.  They won’t taste very nice, but hopefully they will do the trick.

agaragar

These jelly shots are made using plain gelatin, not the commercially bought flavoured gelatin.  The flavours will come from the fruit juice and the herbs.

 

You need 3 tablespoons of plain powdered gelatin or agar agar for Kosher/Vegan/Vegetarians.

1 cup of cold fruit juice

3 cups of heated fruit juice, heated with the herbs of choice, or 2 cups of fruit juice and 1 cup of hot tea

2 tablespoons of honey

 

You sprinkle the gelatin over the cold juice in a large bowl and let it stand for 1 minute.  Add in the hot juice and stir until the gelatin dissolves, which could take up to 10 minutes. Stir in the honey if you want to include it.  Pour the mixture into a rectangular dish of choice, but make sure it will be easy to cut into 1 inch cubes.  Refrigerate until firm, which will take about 3 hours and then you can cut them up.

gelatin-flu-shots

This mix can make up to 9 dozen, but the recipe can be cut in half.  I will probably keep the shots in the fridge, and take one daily to boost the immune system and if I succumb to the bugs, then up the dose to 2 a day.

 

If you do make these, let me know how you get on with them!

 

Ouch… herbal pain relievers…

The idea for this morning’s blog has come out of yesterdays topic.  It is all well and good trying to prevent inflammation, but sometimes, the pain is there and although it isn’t bad enough to reach for the painkillers (remember what I said… if you need them, use them!) you wish there was something you could take naturally for it.

 

The good news is that yes, there are several different things you can try.  Of course, there are also lots of different sorts of pain.  I was going to give you the top ten natural painkillers… but I have actually found 11 of them.  So here comes the top 11 natural painkillers.

garlic

Number one is Garlic.  I loooove garlic, and it is absolutely awesome as an antibiotic.  I remember it being referred to as Russian Penicillin.  It is also good for earache.  That is one of the worst forms of pain you can have to my mind.   If you infuse some oil with crushed garlic and then drop the warmed oil into the ear (by the drop rather than the gallon) it works a treat apparently.  Thankfully, earache is not something I usually suffer with, for which I am very, very grateful!

cloves 2

Second on the list is cloves.  Cloves are fabulous for toothache and gum inflammation (plus they taste fabulous with Ham.  Sorry… I digress!)   I think toothache is almost as miserable as earache.  You do have to be careful with clove oil, the essential oil, though.  It can be very, very powerful.  I would actually put one clove in the mouth and crunch it.  That should do it.  Your breath will smell spicy, though you might need a gallon or so of water to wash the woody bit of the clove out of your mouth!

 

Three is Apple Cider Vinegar again.  Apparently it is great for heartburn, which is another good reason for taking it before you eat in some water.

ginger root

Four is ginger.  Ginger is great for muscle pain and is actually a constituent of several of the popular muscle balms you can get.  It also smells fabulous and tastes even better.

 

Cherries and Tumeric come in at five and six on this list.  I wrote about them yesterday, so please refer back if you are interested!

peppermint oil

Peppermint comes in at number 7.  It says in my research that Peppermint is good for sore muscles, but I also know it is EXCELLENT for headaches.  It is actually the menthol in the essential oil which is the force at work.  I also love the smell.  It is fresh and vibrant and green.  Yes, smells can be green.  Don’t look at me like that!  I know what I mean!

pineapple

A strange entry at number 8 is pineapple.  It is great for stomach bloating and gas.  Actually, this makes sense because pineapple is packed with important enzymes, and as your stomach is a veritable maelstrom of enzymes, pineapple is likely to even things out.  Lets face it, a bloaty and gassy tummy is all about imbalance somewhere in the system, so anything to even the scales is a good thing.

water drop

Good old water is number 9.  If you have a lot of pain, keep up the water intake.  Dehydration plus pain is not a pleasant mixture, and should be avoided.  Apparently water is good for general injury and pain.  I take that to mean, if in doubt, drink water.

horseradish

Number 10 is Horseradish.  This is great for sinus pain.  Of course, while it is clearing the blockages, it causes significant sinus pain, but boy oh boy does it work a treat on a blocked sinus cavity.

blueberries

And… drum roll please… number 11 is for the pain and discomfort caused by bladder and urinary tract infections.  Blueberries.  Interesting… I knew about cranberries but apparently blueberries have the same chemical in them and so both are good for helping to clear them up.

 

That was an interesting bit of research for me to do, and I hope it helps you too.

Do you have pets at home?

Our house is home to 3 animals.  No, I am not including the husband in that count.  I have two cats and a dog.  The two cats are Mo (15), Alfie (5) and the dog is Dotty (2).  Flea treatments are important to us, but I really do not like using the chemicals available.  So what natural remedies are there for use on animals?

lemon

My research has come up with several.  Citrus skins are useful.  Rubbing a small amount of lemon or orange juice on the skin of your pets, between the shoulder blades can really help.  As can using Brewers Yeast in their food.  A small amount of garlic in the dry food daily can help, but it should not be used for cats because it can cause anaemia in them.

This is NOT either of my cats!

This is NOT either of my cats!

You could always attempt to dip the animal in water.  You could use a gentle shampoo as well.  I am thinking the cats would definitely not appreciate that (first I would have to catch them.  They move fast!), and the dog… well, even though she is part Labrador, she is not wildly keen on water.  Mind you, the past two weekends, we have had to give her a bath because she has rolled in something disgusting.  So those Labrador genes will out somehow!

hoovering

One thing I do all the time with 3 animals in the house, is to vacuum.  If we keep the floor clean with a natural disinfectant (steam cleaning is brilliant!) that can also stop the reinfection of  fleas.  Make sure to regularly clean the bedding and to vacuum round their favourite hangout spots.

rose geranium oil

If you have ticks in your area, then you can make a tick collar, by putting a few dabs of Rose Geranium Essential oil on the fabric of the collar, and ticks will avoid your beast.

chamomile

If your cat or dog still has an itchy and irritated skin, then you can use Chamomile tea in a spray bottle.  Make the tea, put it in the spray bottle and then put it in the refrigerator.  Apply to the itchy and uncomfortable part of the skin.  Vitamin E oil is great for Dogs dry skin.  But you can also use baby oatmeal.  Add a little water to make a paste and then rub it into the itchy areas.  Leave it for 10 minutes and then rinse with warm water.  And that Chamomile tea bag?  You can use it on irritated and infected pet eyes as well.

 

Hmmm… all the pets have disappeared somewhere.  I wonder if they know I am going to be chasing them around with lemons?!

 

Have a great Sunday!

What to do if you have a sinus infection

Round at our house, sinus infections are a common problem.  Unfortunately, my husband has cavernous sinuses and he gets blocked and infected ones all the time.  We have found that using the drugs and treatments available at the pharmacy have caused a problem with creating nose bleeds and other “lovely” things.  So, that got me thinking about some possible natural remedies for the pain and misery of sinus infections.

apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is a good remedy apparently.  It helps to thin congested mucus.  A tablespoon in a glass of water, twice a day should do the trick.  It also seems to be a super remedy for all kinds of things.

grapefruit

A new remedy on me is Grapefruit seed extract.  Apparently it is a natural antibiotic.  It is very sour in taste though, and everybody has a different tolerance to it as a remedy.  You should be able to find it as a supplement in the health food store, and you should begin with a small dose and gradually increase it.

water drop

Also, keep drinking water regularly.  If you are hydrated, and the mucus tissues in the nose are also hydrated, then the irritation to the sinus lining will be kept to a minimum and you should be able to shift the mucus out of the nose as well.  (Sorry, that is kind of disgusting)

curry

And an old traditional remedy.  Have a very hot curry.  If you imbibe Cayenne Pepper, Garlic, Onion and Horseradish, not only will you have a very firey curry on your hands, but your sinuses will feel very relieved.  Garlic was always known as “Russian Penicillin” in our house, and it certainly helps relieve the discomfort of sinus infections.

 

If you are suffering, then try and avoid mucus forming foods.  These include flour products, eggs, chocolate, fried and processed foods, sugar and dairy products.

 

I hope this helps you and you get some relief.  Have a lovely weekend.

How to nix pain naturally…

There is nothing worse than being in pain.  Some people have a high tolerance for it, and some people don’t, but one thing is for sure, if you have it, you are suffering.  I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like reaching for the bottle of aspirin or ibuprofen or paracetamol all the time.  I would prefer to treat as much pain as possible as naturally as I can.  So… I started digging around on the internet and found a wealth of natural pain remedies we can use to make ourselves feel better.

ginger tea

Remember our blog on Monday?  All about Ginger and it is one of remedies for muscle pain.  Ginger contains potent compounds called gingerols which prevent the production of pain triggering hormones.  I think, after a couple of days of painting walls and going to the gym for the first time in a couple of months, I am going to need some!

cloves

There is very little worse for the temper than having a toothache.  How about chewing on some cloves?  They can ease tooth pain and gum inflammation for up to 2 hours if you chew one slowly.  Cloves have a natural compound in them called eugenol which is a powerful and natural anaesthetic so that accounts for it.

apple cider vinegar

If you don’t think Heartburn is painful, then you are either very brave, or you have never had it.  But if you take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, before every meal, it will reduce the risk of you getting it in the first place.  Apple Cider Vinegar is rich in malic and tartaric acids which speeds the breakdown of fats and proteins in order for your stomach to empty quickly and hopefully stop the reflux which causes the heartburn.

garlic

Do you suffer with earaches?  Using 2 drops of warmed garlic oil twice daily for 5 days will definitely help.  Garlic has germanium, selenium and sulphur compounds which are naturally toxic to bacteria.  5 days, bye bye infection.  And Vampires.  And possibly friends, because lets face it, garlic can really whiff sometimes.  But, anything is better than the throbbing of earaches, so I would risk it.

cherries

Apparently cherries are amazing for their painkilling properties!  A daily bowl of 20 cherries, be they fresh, dried or frozen can help with arthritis, gout or chronic headaches.  Anthocyanins, which give the cherries their red colour, are 10 times stronger anti-inflammatories than ibuprofen or aspirin.  They work by shutting down the enzymes which kick start tissue inflammation.  This means they can prevent as well as treat pain.  Amazing.  And they taste fabulous too!

oily fish

Suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Indigestion or Inflammatory Bowel Diseases?  Eat 18 ounces of oily fish a week.  Again, it is those amazing fish oils which are doing their stuff again.  And if you are a lady who suffers with Pre Menstrual problems (or someone who lives with one who does!  It is not much fun on either side of that equation!) try snacking on 2 cups of yogurt a day.  The Calcium in it helps the body deal with the ups and downs of estrogen and progesterone which cause the issues.

turmeric

Cases of chronic pain can be tamed with Turmeric.  The active ingredient within it is called Curcumin and it naturally shuts down cyclo-oxygenase2, and enzyme which churns out pain producing hormones.  If you sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon on any rice, poultry, meat or veg dish daily, it should have the required effect.

salt

Do you have foot pain from ingrown toenails?  I do, and it is miserable.  So, I am going to use this tip, and take 1 teaspoon of salt into a cup of water heated as hot as I can bear it and then soak the affected area for 20 minutes, twice daily.  The salt kills the  bacteria causing the infection and therefore the pain, stone dead.

pineapple

Pineapple is great for solving the pain from digestive upsets.  1 cup of fresh pineapple is packed with proteolytic enzymes which speed the breakdown of pain causing proteins in the stomach and small intestine.  I know it used to work for my Father, who had myriad problems with food intolerances and before he died he had several intestinal issues.  He used to have pineapple for breakfast and it did seem to help.

peppermint oil

And finally, for our foray into natural pain relieving ingredients, how about soothing aching muscles using 10 drops of peppermint oil in a warm bath.  If you do this 3 times a week it can ease cramping up to 25% more effectively than using over the counter relaxants.  Also, peppermint oil can help headaches as well.

 

I hope this was an enjoyable post to read, and I hope it will help you find natural alternatives to processed chemical pain relievers.